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Colonial Cases

The Passeri Case, 1919


The Passeri Case

Mixed Court, Shanghai
Source: The Canton Times, 10 January 1919


The Mixed Court, Shanghai.


 Of all the singular cases ever dealt with by the Mixed Court, that which has now become known as the "Passeri Case" is probably the most extraordinary (says the N.C. Daily News).  Mr. Passeri was found by the Court - consisting of Mr. G. Ros, Italian Assessor and Magistrate Yui - to have been appointed liquidator of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank and to be entitled to something just under Tls. 200,000 remuneration.  Against this the Bureau of Liquidation asked for leave to appeal, the result being that the Assessor refused and the Magistrate granted it, ordering that the money paid into Court should be kept there.

   If the remarks of the learned Magistrate have been interpreted correctly, it would seem that while, as he claims, his judgment was uninfluenced, pressure was brought to bear on him by a communication from Peking.  It is unfortunate that the tendency of that pressure should appear to coincide with the Magistrate's decision, but, with regard to the vital principles involved, it would make no difference if the magistrate's decision and the views of Peking were at variance. The judgments of the Mixed Court cannot and must not be influenced by anything outside the four corners of the evidence before it. Any suggestion to the contrary strikes a serious blow at the reputation of the Court as a fount of justice and robs it of the confidence of foreign and Chinese suitors alike.

   The matter seems to be one which demands immediate and most searching inquiry that necessary steps may be taken to obviate any recurrence of what is undoubtedly a mist distressing incident, for it is such occurrences as there which to the community of its sense of security in matters civil and criminal.  At the same time the whole affair is not without value when the claim that the Mixed Court should be handed over to Chinese control comes to be considered.


Source: The Canton Times, 22 January 1919


  Peking, Jan. 11. - We learn authoritatively that the central government has issued no instructions to the Chinese magistrates of the Shanghai Mixed Court in connection with the Passeri case whatsoever neither through the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Justice.  But the central government authorities believe that the Court has no right to try it.



Source: The Canton Times, 23 January 1919


   Peking, January 20. - The Government has intimated to the Legations that it protests against the judgment rendered by the Mixed Court, favoring Mr. E. Passeri, contending that the Liquidation Bureau being a Government organ does not fall within the jurisdiction of any Court unless specially delegated for the purpose by the Government.

   Instructions have been issued by the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs at Shanghai to squash the proceedings.

   The case in the Mixed Court, it will be remembered, concerned the remuneration of Mr. Passeri as liquidator of the Deutsche-Asiatische bank.  The Court found Mr. Passeri entitled to four per cent on all assets collected or brought to credit and $50,000 as compensation for his work as liquidator on the cases which had been brought before the Court.   The Bureau of Liquidation entered an application for leave to appeal against the decision which was granted by Magistrate Yui and refused by Mr. G. Ros, Italian Assessor. - H.K.D.P.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School